Sander, Daniëlle & EmilyOur Family life...

Our Family life...

Day 4: Washington, DC > Concord, NC

If everything goes according to plan today will be the longest travel in both distance and time.

But first the story from yesterday, late in the evening when both my princesses where already in bed I decided to settle our bill. Everything was fine I only paid 1 out of the 2 nights and as an additional bonus they also didn’t charge us for parking (28$/night) and we got fee breakfast (14$/person)! I’d say I did like the outcome, to bad we need to spend time on it. The hotel itself was very good and the location was perfect.

Back to today, at 6:41am the little princes decided that it was time to switch from the bed with mama to the bed with papa. That including a pretty loud announcement and without holding back she started jumping on my chest, at least she said “Papa I missed you” which made a lot bit more bearable.

From there we got ourselves ready, Emily and I loaded the first suitcases. And when mama was ready we went to the breakfast, I’m glad that we didn’t spent money on it, it was only slightly better as the free breakfast at a Holiday Inn Express.

9:00am sharp we drove out of the parking garage for our 384 Miles long drive to the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, North Carolina. For the European readers this a the North American variant of CenterParcs. Difference are that it’s a hotel and a single building and the pool is more exciting but less themed.

But we still had about 6 hours driving to do. Unfortunately we told Emily that she was going to swim today, she asked about it roughly every 15 minutes! The road was very boring we drove over 3 interstates the I-395, the I-95 and the I-85.

But lucky for us we found some entertainment along the road in getting gas at WaWa, shopping at a Target.

Just after we drove over the border of North Carolina, State #7 we stopped and tried out a new restaurant for lunch. The restaurant was Bojangles but it was a disappointment, the staff didn’t even knew their own menu and the service was, even for fast food, terrible. After lunch Daniëlle drove the last 2 hours and soon we arrived at the Lodge.

The lodge was way bigger as we imagined and we called see it from far away. When we checked in, or better to say got our paperwork as I checked in online yesterday already, we learned that the bracelet where like MagicBands they were your credit card, your room key and your ID. Perfect for a hotel build around an indoor water park/pool.

We got to our room, changed in our bathing suits and we were off to the kids splash area. Emily went from the yellow slide, then the blue slide and played a little bit.

Finally we convinced her to leave and go into the wave pool. She loved it…she was jumping and running until she wanted to checkout the section for bigger kids.

At first we thought adults weren’t allowed but apparently at least one us needed to accompany her. First we played with buckets and other water spraying elements until Emily wanted to slide… There were 2 longer slides and I would have not believed that she went of either one of them if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. And she didn’t only went once, she went 3 times until she decided that she wanted to eat a pretzel!

After dinner in the water area we jumped one more time in the wave pool before wen went back to our room to get dressed and see a short nighttime show for kids in the lobby. After the show it was time for bed.

When we got back to the room it was a little challenge to get Emily to sleep in her own bed for a night but good old Edwin, her interactive rubber ducky helped us out playing some lullabies, it’s also a Bluetooth speaker!

Tomorrow we’ll start in the water area and around lunch we’ll be starting to drive to our next stop!

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Day 3: Washington DC

Good morning world, I had an excellent sleep! Emily slept well to and Daniëlle had some tiny challenges as in tiny feet, tiny hands making gigantic movements! It’s always an adventure to sleep in the same bed as your toddler!

At 8:45am we left the hotel walking with Emily in a stroller to Crystal City Station where we purchased our Smartrip passes for today. We waited for the next metro to come to go to L’Enfant Plaza, this is one of the closest metro stations near the National Mall.

During the trip we also entered State no. 6, the District of Columbia!

The National Mall and the surrounding area include some of the most iconic sculptures, memorials and museums. We’ve only visited the outdoor ones as we had beautiful weather today with 31 Celsius and beautiful blue skies. In order of appearance in below pictures: The National Monument, the World War II Monument, the Lincoln Memorial Reflection Pool and the Lincoln Memorial with some pictures of Emily in and out of her stroller in between.

From old Abe we continued our stroll through the Capitol towards the house of Donald & Melania Trump. It’s much smaller as I expected.

Emily was exhausted after we had a short break/water/ice tea stop at a Starbucks nearby the White House and she slept within 2 blocks from there. She continued sleeping for about an hour while we walked along the Capital Building and some other landmarks.

Emily woke up when we entered the second elevator in L’Enfant Plaza Station where we took the yellow line metro back to Crystal City.

At 4pm we got back in our hotel we wanted to visit the pool but this is only open seasonally which means means June, July and August… Since Emily was still a bit tired we decided to take it easy for a couple hours and while Emily watched Disney Junior we found out that the hotel charged a very high amount of $s to our credit card for whatever reason.

Needless to say I went down to the reception and after a some explaining to the manager the charge was reversed quickly. But that would still leave us with a foreign exchange conversion fee from our bank…to be continued!

At 5:30pm we left on a mission for ice-cream! And we were successful at the Coldstone Creamery. Somehow we also are excited to go and order our ice-cream or milkshake but it’s always a little but of an disappointment either due to the service (this time) or the not so tasteful treat as I had imagined (also this time).

Now it was time to go back to our room for a bath and our bed! On our way in the lobby the story continued, we got a full night refunded although we did not hear this from the manager as he wasn’t available but it was in the system. Let’s see if this is still the case tomorrow…

While Emily is on bathing I’m finishing up the blog and I’m so tired I almost fall a sleep while writing and it is only 7:30pm…

Tomorrow we have the longest drive of the trip planned and Emily is already excited to get back in the car!

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Day 2: Bradford > Washington DC

Just before Emily woke up I took this picture from our sleeping beauty…

After she woke up there was a lot excitement “Papa, Mama, I wanna go in the white car! Eminy go in the white car! The washroom was broken yesterday! Eminy saw Bambi running” I guess that was her summary of yesterday…

Soon it was time for breakfast with a Banana, Pancakes, A-juice and scrambled eggs. And not to forget the Disney Princess crayons and colouring pages from Patti. The crayons were a big hit, Emily played with them throughout the whole day.

At 8:30 we left the parking lot and after we got the minivan filled with gas we started our 5:33 minute long drive towards Washington DC. Or better to say Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia.

The sights where beautiful and very diverse, high mountains, fog, small rivers, large industrial plants, trees and the best only 8 minutes of traffic.

For lunch we stopped just before we entered the Interstate 70 towards Washington DC, we ended up going to McDonalds. It was a quick stop but we didn’t rush, Emily was doing such a great job staying happy and excited in the car we wanted to give her some time to play. But no after she was done eating she asked: “Can I go back in the car, pleeeaaaaseeee?”

No problem and after getting a coffee at the first Starbucks we found after entering the US we continued for the last 2 hours. The road wasn’t so exciting as the first part but there were still some interesting views and we crossed 2 state borders, State #4 Maryland, State #5 Viriginia!

The most exciting were the last 25 minutes on the George Washington Memorial parkway, this road was covered by trees and we even saw a glimpse of the National Mall and the Pentagon. What we didn’t knew yet was that our hotel is only a 10 minute walk a way from the Pentagon. Needless to say that during preparation for this trip we only focussed on the driving part and not really on the attractions…

After we checked into the Crowne Plaza at Washington National Airport we had some fun in the hotel room!

After jumping on the bed we decided to visit the nearby Fashion Mall at Pentagon City. From there we walked over to the Pentagon.

At the Pentagon there is the monument for the 184 victims from the plane crash on 9/11/2001 9:37am. The memorial is not as impressive in size as the one at ground zero in NYC but this one got to us too. It feels more personal as every victim got its own bench and every bench is placed on a line symbolizing the birth year from the victims. One of the victims was Emily’s age at that time, unbelievable that this has happened to so many innocent people…

From the memorial we walked back to the Shake Shack we saw on the outside of the mall for some unhealthy food and delicious milkshakes and A-juice!

During the 10 minutes walk back the hotel we made a short stop at the Starbucks where Emily worked on another one of their “paintings” with the Disney Princess crayons she got from Patti earlier today.

Back in the hotel room Emily burned the last bit of energy had left with jumping on the bed and then it was bedtime. Somehow we convinced Emily that mama is a good alternative for papa and I have a bed for myself tonight.

Tomorrow there will be no driving as we are going to visit the National Mall and the White House by public transport. Yes, the weather was not great today but tomorrow it will be 31 Celsius and sunny!

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